‘Freedom Sings’ program in Columbia, MO

You are an exceptional individual if you can name all of the fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A 2006 survey found that only three Americans in 1,000 could name all five: speech, press, religion, assembly
and petition.
“Freedom Sings™,” a critically acclaimed multimedia program of the Freedom Forum, hopes to improve these statistics when it opens the 2008 centennial and dedication celebration of the Missouri School of Journalism and the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute. The 90-minute event will be held the evening of Wednesday, Sept. 10, at the University of Missouri.
“The First Amendment Center and its ongoing program ‘Freedom Sings™’ are pleased to be part of the celebration of the Missouri program, of journalism  education at its highest level,” said Gene Policinski, vice president and executive director of the Center in Nashville, Tenn. “Music and musicians are a great way to remind our fellow citizens — particularly young adults — of the power, passion and value of free expression.”
The 2006 “State of the First Amendment” poll documents a general lack of First Amendment knowledge by the public. A recent survey of young Americans by the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum revealed that twice as many Americans can name characters from The Simpsons’ cartoon family than those able to name more than one of the freedoms.
“Freedom Sings™” presents First Amendment information within the context of three centuries of banned or censored music in America. The program features live performances by hit songwriters and Grammy Award winners, along with video and live narration.
Ken Paulson, BJ ’75, now editor of USA Today, had hundreds of songs with alleged references to drugs, sexuality, violence and more to choose from when he created and wrote the production. He developed it when he served as executive director of the First Amendment Center. Paulson, who began his career as a music writer and rock critic, will co-narrate the program in Columbia with Policinski.

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